Pelosi: Independent panel will probe Capitol riot

Tuesday, 16 Feb, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that Congress will establish an independent commission to investigate the causes of the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other supporters of then-President Trump.

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was a bipartisan-panel established to create a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. The Senate impeachment trial of the former President concluded over the weekend, and ended in Trump's acquittal on a single charge of incitement of insurrection.

The Senate voted on Saturday to acquit Donald Trump after he was charged with inciting the riot, falling 10 votes short of the necessary two-thirds needed for a conviction.

Fox News reported that the same day as Pelosi's announcement, the speaker received a letter from four Republican ranking members on House committees who are demanding answers from the speaker about her "responsibility for the security" of the Capitol on January 6.

More than a month after the attack that left five dead as pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and sought to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden's victory as president, the Capitol complex remains guarded by more than 5,000 National Guard troops and ringed with eight-foot fences rimmed with razor wire.

Asked then about who she had in mind to serve on the commission, Pelosi confirmed that members would not be serving on it, saying, "It's an outside commission".

Cassidy said he was "attempting to hold President Trump accountable", and added that as Americans hear all the facts, "more folks will move to where I was". Chris Coons (D-DE) have expressed support for a 9/11 commission to investigate the riot.

A special "commission is a way to make sure that we secure the Capitol going forward and that we lay bare the record of just how responsible and how abjectly violating of his constitutional oath president Trump really was".

One example of an unanswered question the letter points out were claims made by former Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund that he requested assistance of the National Guard from the sergeants at arms January 4, two days before the riot.

Trump's actions and words leading up to the deadly January 6 violence, in which rioters stormed the seat of the United States legislature as Congress met to certify the election victory of President Joe Biden, garnered more bipartisan support for conviction than any previous Senate impeachment trial.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in all of these cases.

Trump's defense lawyers have drawn attention to the fact he said protesters should demonstrate "peacefully and patriotically". And on Sunday he was back on Fox News crowing about what could happen if the Republicans take back control of the House in 2022. "We need a 9/11 commission to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again".

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, in a tweet supporting Pelosi, said: "One of the darkest days in the history of our democracy deserves to be examined and investigated in great detail".